Vijay Singh and his lawyer are demanding the PGA Tour produce documents related to positive tests for fellow players under the Tour’s Anti-Doping Program.
Singh filed suit against the PGA Tour in New York Supreme Court in May, alleging the PGA Tour administered its Anti-Doping Program in “reckless” fashion. In particular, Singh was suing over how the PGA Tour handled the case of his admission of the use of deer-antler spray in a Jan. 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated.
Singh says the PGA Tour, which ultimately did not suspend the 50-year-old Fijian because of a change in how the banned ingredient, IGF-1, in deer-antler spray was treated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), treated the golfer inappropriately and without the same regard as other players who has faced disciplinary action under the program.
In an Oct. 24 hearing in New York Supreme Court, Ginsberg alleged the PGA Tour had provided exceptions to players in terms of their testing and penalties for positive tests under the Anti-Doping Program. Ginsberg said the plaintiffs intended to prove a pattern of favortism in how the program was administered.
Following up on those claims, Ginsberg submitted a document on Nov. 26 as part of the pre-trial discovery process. In the filing, Ginsberg asks the court to compel the PGA Tour to release and supply documentation concerning:
- any testing done on the deer-antler spray product produced by S.W.A.T.S., which Singh admitted to taking in a Jan. 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated, which triggered the PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping Program to investigate and pursue disciplinary action
- any testing done specifically on Singh from the outset of the Anti-Doping Program in 2008 to present
- any interviews conducted with Singh or S.W.A.T.S. founder Mitch Ross about deer-antler spray or IGF-1
- any communications between the Sports Illustrated reporters connected to Singh’s admission and the PGA Tour
- most importantly, any documentation concerning positive tests administered until the Anti-Doping Program, including Doug Barron, the only player publicly suspended under the program back in 2009; Mark Calcavecchia, who admitted to using deer-antler spray in 2011; as well as any positive tests and disciplinary action related to Scott Verplank, Dustin Johnson and Matt Every
The PGA Tour claims the documents requested by Ginsberg on Singh’s behalf are not relevant to Singh’s particular case. The PGA Tour also requested a protective order, asking the court not to publicly release documents related to this request that the court might compel it to provide. Singh’s counsel agreed to the request.
Barron was suspended for a year in Nov. 2009 for testing positive for a testosterone supplement as well as for taking Beta blockers for a heart condition. Under the rules of the Anti-Doping Program, violations for substances like those Barron used are to be made public. Violations for substances considered drugs of abuse, including marijuana, are not. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem can choose to not suspend or discipline a player for a positive test under the program.
Ginsberg filed the motion while the judge assigned to the case is yet to decide on the PGA Tour’s previously filed motion to dismiss the case. However, the presiding judge indicated during the Oct. 24 hearing that it was unlikely the motion would be granted. A conference on the motion to dismiss will take place Dec. 3.